5th January 2021

Dear Parent/Carers

Last night, the Prime Minister confirmed the re-introduction of a lockdown in response to rising infection rates and concerns about the new Coronavirus variant.

As in the previous lockdown, vulnerable children and the children of critical workers can continue to attend school.  See Government guidelines. https://tinyurl.com/sqjewep

The list of eligible critical worker roles is extensive and, towards the end of the previous lockdown, the government encouraged parents to take full advantage of this eligibility. This coincided with the point where the curve had been flattened, community transmission had been suppressed to very low levels and the government were trying to move out of lockdown.

We fully appreciate the pressures which parents will now be experiencing. However, at this early stage when the curve is climbing steeply, community transmission is increasing and there is a new, more easily spread variant, I am appealing to parents/carers to exercise caution before they send their child to school under the eligibility of a child of a critical worker.

The overriding message has returned to “STAY AT HOME”. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. If you or another parent/carer are at home (including working from home), please keep your child safely at home and access remote learning.

Unlike in the last lockdown childcare support bubbles are allowed and these should be considered if possible.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, and you cannot keep your child safe at home, then your child can attend school. However, children should only attend school on the days when they cannot be kept safely at home. Attending school on a part time basis is helpful and if all parents do this whenever they can it makes a huge difference because it keeps the numbers at school as low as possible.

Whilst the school has a number of measures in place which have kept pupils and staff as safe as possible to this point, at this early stage of the lockdown, keeping the number of pupils attending school as low as possible is a vitally important additional, new measure in order to protect the health of children, their critical worker parents and families and the staff at Whitley Lodge First.

If numbers attending school remain high, this counteracts the primary aim of the lockdown which is to reduce the transmission, protect the NHS and save lives. Ultimately, this will allow the return of all pupils to school at the earliest opportunity.

Transmission is also more likely in larger groups and this will increase the likelihood of a bubble of children needing to isolate, should they have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Finally, please consider that teaching staff will be juggling the competing demands of teaching pupils attending school as well as those completing remote learning at home. Keeping numbers low at school allows teaching staff to give more time to support and feedback to fellow classmates that are learning at home.

In light of the above, children and their siblings who were previously eligible can attend from 9.00am tomorrow, if your work situation remains the same. However, please can you also complete the form via the following link https://forms.gle/Q6DKHgGVz3Tfnqb68  so that we are aware of the days that your child will be attending. Should your work situation have changed, please inform the school office.

If your child is in Nursery or Reception and is eligible to attend school as a vulnerable child or as a child of a key worker, please complete the form via the following link. https://forms.gle/Q6DKHgGVz3Tfnqb68  We will work through the applications and check eligibility. Once confirmed as eligible they may attend school.

If your child is in another year group and has become  eligible to attend school as a vulnerable child or as a child of a key worker, please complete the form via the following link. https://forms.gle/Q6DKHgGVz3Tfnqb68  We will work through the applications and check eligibility. Once confirmed as eligible they may attend school.

Please can all forms be returned to school by 3pm today or as soon as possible to allow us to establish numbers.

Remote learning will be provided for all children who are not attending school. For children in Nursery and reception, this will be done via a link on the school website and via tapestry. For children in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two this will be communicated via SeeSaw. This will be available from 9.30am on Thursday 7th January.

We aim to offer support for your child’s learning and it is not our intention to burden families at this very difficult time. Please complete what you are able to in a way that works best for your family circumstances.

For those key worker children who will be attending, the following arrangements apply:

Nursery and Reception to enter school tomorrow at 9.00am via the main door in the front playground

Key Stage One children to enter school tomorrow at 9.00am via the Purple classroom door.

Key Stage Two children to enter school tomorrow at 9.00am via the Rainbow room door.

 

Thank you for your previous support in relation to the measures we have introduced in school. Hopefully, once the vaccination process is well underway we will see restrictions lifted and a safe return to school for all.

 

Kind regards

 

Mrs F Lutman